Tuesday, August 29, 2006
A snack, of sorts...
I found these in a set of classical 78s I got recently... and since there hasn't been a posting here for a while, I thought you might like a little visual sharity.
Here's a promotional picture (actually an artist's rendering) of Jose Iturbi, the Victor Red Seal recording artist (sez so at the bottom of the picture)... I have several Iturbi discs, and may post some in the future, he's good!
In this set was also an artist's rendering of Sir Thomas Beecham, the conductor. I have NO idea what the "Bart." is after his name, maybe someone has comments on that?
Full size scans are here:
Sir Thomas Beecham, Bart.
I'm working up a selection of VIctorian type music for a garden party to be held in October, so as I get some of the 1910-1917 music encoded, I'll share it with you.
Thanks for your patience!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
A Quick Commercial Message...
The moodietoonz site has more tiki-jazz-lounge-mood type stuff from the post-shellac era, and the AudiOddities site has.... well.... stuff that doesn't fint any real genre. I usually put up strange stuff there, and occasionally, some home recordings on disc. It is different!
As usual, comments are always welcome, and if you link to any one of the blogs, your link will show up in all three of the audioshare blogs.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled programme....
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Riverside History of Classic Jazz
Here it is, in all its' 5 disc and 18 pages of liner notes glory!
I'm gonna do this up as 5 separate archives, plus an archive of the liner notes in actual size...
I got this set years ago in Portland, Oregon, for the sum total of fifteen bucks... because the discs were about three steps from TRASHED! The binder has finally fallen apart, the sleeves are all ripping out at the bottom, there was even some white mold-like residue on one of the discs.
The set starts out with a "roots of jazz" type thing, going back to field recordings of African chants and Southern street vendors calling out their wares. It then goes to the early days at the turn of the 20th Century ragtime, early blues, and boogie-woogie, then develops from there, to examples of Chicago and New York, then goes on to the revival of 'hot jazz' in the late 1940s. Riverside released this in 1956, with remasters done by Reeves Sound Studios, and a discography by Orrin Kepnews.
In the discography pages, however, there are a BUNCH of hand-written corrections... so I wonder who had this set before I did... one GLARING error is on side 9, to be specific, the Muggsy Spanier track is labelled on the disc and in the discography as "Lonesone Road", when, in fact it is "Muskrat Ramble"! There are a couple of other personnel corrections in the notes as well, I'll leave you to figure out who and what...
Anyway, let us get the ball rolling...
Disc One ('Backgrounds' and 'Ragtime')
Disc Two ('The Blues' and 'New Orleans Style')
Disc Three ('Boogie Woogie' and 'South Side Chicago')
Disc Four ('Chicago Style' and 'Harlem')
Disc Five ('New York Style' and 'New Orleans Revival')
...and here is the link to the 18 pages of liner notes for you to read at your leisure. There are some good photos in there, as well...
You'll note that this collection is VERY heavily leaning towards the Dixieland-style, or "hot" jazz, as opposed to what jazz had already turned into (that being swing), and where it was going (bop, cool, and third-stage, to name a few styles). Whether it was a desire to chronicle the 'classic' period, or maybe an effort to help 'right the boat' as some saw it, it is not known... what I do know is this: this is a darn good compendium of where 'trad jazz' started and where it was going, even if it had, by 1956, crumpled itself into a niche that it would never really escape from.
...except for the many avid fans of Trad Jazz, of course :)
Saturday, August 19, 2006
The Rest of the Classical Stuff, and more
In this batch, there is a Red Seal shellac recording of Arturo Toscanini & the NBC Symphony Orchestra performing the Prelude to Act 1 and Prelude to Act 3 from Verdi's "La Traviata". Now THIS is a FAR superior recording to the Tosci DeLuxe sessions, at least the one I fought with in the last post. The shellac was much quieter, and it seems as if the recording, while still sounding a bit like it was coming from a canyon, is more defined than the Cinderella Overture on red vynil. Obviously, this was an earlier recording, but still, there's no excuse for a recording that sounds like it was recorded in Mush Canyon, especially when you're trying to release it on a high-end format (at least for that period).
I found kind of a cringer in this lot as well, the Sigmund Romberg rendition of John Philip Sousa's Semper Fidelis march. This is what happens when you get an over-ambitions orchestra doing a classic march, and turning it into something that was rejected for a film score. Yes, it's an orcehstrated version which isn't too awful bad, until you get to the coda..... WHERE THE HECK DID THAT COME FROM??? oy vey and gevalt. RCA Victor, this was not a winner of the catalogue.
At least, his rendition of Lehar's Silver and Gold Waltz passes muster nicely. If this was also film-score bait, then this works. Very nicely done. Note to Sigmund.... put down the marching scores and slowly back away.
Let's contrast this with a Columbia Masterworks pressing of Andre the K (Andre Kostelanetz & His Orchestra) doing Sibelius' Valse Triste. Yes, the engineer rolled off the top end somewhere around 10k, but the performance made me actually sit there and go "....wow." He sure knew how to wave a baton. RCA may have had the better sonic recordings, but sometimes the performance surpasses the sonic incredulity. Andre's version of Paderewski's Minuet in G, even though it sounds like it was sped up in the control room to A-flat, is still a beautiful recording. Nice nice nice stuff.
I found another RCA Red Seal of Alexander Brailowsky, This time doing one of my favorite piano spectaculars, Franz Listz's Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. OK, it's both sides of the disc, so he takes pretty much all the repeats indicated in the original score. BUT... this is NOT my favorite version of this piece. It is an interesting study in how to slop through some of the really hard bits and still sound somewhat reasonable. If you listen to the last portion of the piece, you'll hear some real schlepping in there... granted I have many versions of this, and most try to master that part (including Irwin Nyreghazi's version, which is the best example of how to power one's way through the piece, irregardless of notation), but Alexander must have had a bad day when this was recorded.
Time for a treat.
Gordon Jenkins wrote this four-piece deal and recorded it in 1949 for Decca entitled Manhattan Tower. The four parts, all combined for you so you don't have to stack up the mp3 files on the mp3-o-phone, are: "Magical City", "The Party", "New York's My Home", and "Love In A Tower". Gordon wrote this as a sonic memento of his living in a suite in one of the skyscrapers in Manhattan for a month while on assignment there, since he was working in Los Angeles as conductor there, but came to New York occasionally for conducting gigs. This was pretty popular around 9/11 for some reason, and I found a copy of this a while back... it's not in the greatest shape, and the de-noise took a few liberties (for which I apologize), but it is still a neat little narrated piece of sonic poetry. Elliot Lewis did the narration, and Beverly Mahr did the solo on "New York's My Home". This was released on Decca's 'unbreakable under normal use' Deccalite media, which, for some odd reason, made it more susceptable to noise. Sigh......
Anyways, we're done with classical for a little while, I have some big band and country swing stuff coming up that should knock your socks off, so check in often, you never know what'll be in the shanty!
Friday, August 18, 2006
Classical Interlude + a Couple of Requests
It's In The Book (Parts 1 & 2)
I don't know the history of this recording too well, but thanks to David Lennick, he let me know that this is the original release of this comedic classic. Magnolia was a label in Hollywood that Horace Heidt owned, so he released this Johnny Standley routine, which Capitol picked up and bought the masters to. It has been bootlegged many many times hence, and occasionally appears on the Dr Demento program, and other comedy/dementia radio shows.
The label scan is the best I could do to accurately get the colors down, silly Nero Photo program wanted to keep making things brighter and the lettering more golden than it is... took me longer to get the label scan correct than to get all the noise out of this record, and the record was pretty beat up. If you have this record on Magnolia, you'll note that there is an ongoing 60-cycle hum in it, varying from "noticeable' to 'really freaking obnoxious'. I removed as much as I could...
Next up, a piece of interesting-ness. Sears, in the late 40s and early 50s, had their own Silvertone house label (actually, there were earlier iterations of Sears in-house labels, but this series of Silvertone would be around the early 1950s). These wre available for those retail customers that had purchased a Sears phonograph, so they would have something to play on it when the machine was delivered.
Again, with thanks to David Lennick, I found out that the releases were usually single disc affairs, but this one is an anamoly... spanning two discs (red vynil, no less) is the Overture to Romeo and Juliet, composed by Tchaikovsky, and performed by the Silvertone Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Eric Leinsdorf. No clue as to which REAL orchestra this was, but I suspect it was the orchestra Mr. Leinsdorf was conducting at the time.
While we are on the subject of red vynil 78s, let's look at the RCA Red Seal DeLuxe series. In an attempt to make 78s more 'hi-fi', RCA Victor released some material on red vynil pressings, as opposed to their usual shellac pressings. RCA had already released things on vynil (promotional and DJ-release records), so they were familiar with how to press things well on the new medium. These were thicker than the DJ pressings, and were meant to be (1) uinbreakable, and (2) have a quieter sound than shellac. They nailed (1), but GOT nailed on (2) because of the massively heavy stylus pressure utilized on period phonographs. Remember, this was the age of steel needles in heavy pot-metal (or bakelite, if it was hi-tech) tone arms, with no sense of balance or anti-skate, or anything that we now take for granted. Also, the paper sleeves tended to put small hairline scratches into the discs (no dust protection), making them VERY noisy. When found new, these play really really nicely, but if you chance on to them in less-than-new condition, they can be a real headache to get the noise out of.
The set that I just acquired is one of those... less-than-new.
This is a set of Rossini overtures, as performed by Arturo Toscaninni and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. I have seen this set on Victor LP many times, and even on rhe RCA Red Seal regular shellac 78s, but never in the DeLuxe type. So, I buy it, and bring it home, and start encoding the La Cenerentola Overture. NOISY! And, in my opinion, not that great of a recording, either. Is it me, or were the RCA classical recordings, at least the ones of Tosci, just recorded that badly compared to other recording of the time?
To compare notes, I grabbed an RCA Red Seal shellac pressing of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro Overture, performed by Eugene Ormandy and the MInneapolis Symphony Orchestra. As far as noise went, this was MUCH better, but the recording... errgghh. The Rossini was spread out over two sides, while this was a single side, and I think that Eugene waved the baton somewhat wildly in the tempo department.
Even more interesting was his rendition of Moto Perpetuo, by Paganini. I haev not heard this performed many times, but, from what I can tell, it is somewhat of a challenge to the string sections. And at this breakneck tempo, a REAL challenge!
Time for a little relaxation, no? No.
Alexander Brailowsky, pianist very-darn-good, crammed these two onto one side of a 12" disc for RCA Victor... Rimsky-Korsakoff's Flight of the Bumblebee, and Liadoff's The Music Box. Nice little etudes and studies, performed much better than in 99.99 per cent of young person's recitals that we have all had to sit through more than once in our lifetimes (either as parent or fellow performer.... I know. I have done both on repeated occasions). When you have nightmares with a poorly-executed "Fur Elise" as the soundtrack, you know you have been to one too many.
NOW it is time to relax the tempo a bit. Brailowsky gives us Chopin's Nocturne in F-sharp (Opus 15, Number 2), so that we can all relax from the noise and rushed tempii and hecticness of the day.
I think that the red vynil experiments of RCA Victor were a good idea that was too early for its' time... I have heard what these are capable of, sonically, and they'll blow your socks off, but they also tended to show off really putrid (even for the time) recording technique.
Where was Enoch Light when ya needed him!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Some Sweet, Some Swing, Some Stuff
Let's start off with the stuff... I had in the latest round of thrift store shellac this album by Frank Froeba & His Backroom Boys. Unfortunately I only have, you guessed it, 3 of the 4 discs in there, but all 6 sides are some pretty nice bar-room piano with a very light rhythm section behind Frank. No info on who he is, but he's got some nice chops, and the ability to go from waltzes to boogie without any problems. I put all 6 sides in an archive, so if you want Back Room Piano just click on the link. It WORKS now!
First off, a couple of light classical sides. These got mixed in with the current batch of 78s, they sounded good, so here they are. Charles Kullman sings with his tenor voice, two songs from the motion picture "Song of Scheherazade", backed by the orchestra conducted by Julius Berger. It is unknown whether or not these are from the sound track, but they're nice to listen to on a summer's evening... his renditions of Gypsy Song and the Fandango from Capriccio Espagnole are good, nice recordings, nicely encoded. This bunch of shellac was, for the most part, in really decent shape, but there were a couple of exceptions... this one wasn't one of them though.
Going into the Sweet side of things, here's a pair by legendary Golden Throat (and butt of many jokes) Vaughn Monroe. His rendition of The Legend of Tiabi makes my skin crawl. I can see why Spike Jones said what he did about him... Vaughn takes this Navajo legend song and turns it completely into sticky sticky gossamer goo of Wonder Bread. The only thing worse is actually bringing in the Sons of the Pioneers for his butchering of Cool Water. WHAT IS WITH THE SWING BREAK IN THERE??? How RCA Victor could sell this stuff, I'll never know. I really really want to make this my Clanker of the Week, but I feel bad about doing that with the Sons. Vaughn Monroe? You deserve every bit of Clanky-karma you get over this one. Bleah.
Let's move on to a VERY politically incorrect version of Missouri Waltz, performed by Eddy Howard & His Orchestra, on the Majestic label. Majestic had some winners out there, and some LOSERS. WARNING: this song has references to darkies and picaninnies in it, sung by a white guy, recorded in 1946. Just thought I'd warn you. The back side is a bit more soothing, except for the fact that the record has some pretty bad damage on it... this is one of the exceptions to the general level of quality in this batch, so, my apologies. I tried to get most of the poo out of it, but there's still some artifacting in there, so best to play this with the treble decreased for better results... unfortunately the title, My Best to You, isn't the best of quality, but, hey, I tried.
Continuing on in Sweet-ville, here's a pair of recordings by Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae on the Capitol label from 1949... Whispering Hope and A Thought In My Heart. Orchestral duties on these are by Paul Weston, and they're nice... if you like Geritol or Serutan and Carter's Little Pills with your Wonder Bread... I really don't care too much for the sweet side of the shellac era, maybe it was being forced to watch Lawrence Welk too much as a youth. But, I post these for your edification, education, and entertainment, because I know that SOMEWHERE out there, people like this stuff (he says as he grins...).
We'll go now to another Majestic record, this one a bit better than the Eddy Howard cringer.... The Three Suns. Their version of Twilight Time and It's Dawn Again show their smoothness (and nice work on the Hammond organ, too, for which I am a sucker for...). Recorded in early 1945, a pleasure to the ears. THIS is the sweet stuff I can relate to!
We'll go about a year into the future, into November of 1946, for this pair by Ray Noble & His Orchestra. Buddy Clark croons a good croon here on Love is a Random Thing, and Linda. Ray Noble was another of the great sweet band leaders of the time, and you can see where the popular music trend was heading from these two very well-recorded Columbia sides.
Earlier in the same year, Kay Kyser recorded a pair of fairly famous tunes, one sweet: The Old Lamp-Lighter, with one Michael Douglas on vocals (anyone for a loverly bunch of cocoanuts?), and one swingy: Huggin and Chalkin', with Jack Martin singing about his girthly girl and the betrayal by a piece of chalk. The Kaydettes were the backing vocalists on both sides, as well. Another pair of nicely done Columbia sides!
--- ADDENDUM ---
It is with sadness that I just learned that Mike Douglas passed away this morning, 11 August, on his 81st birthday.
Had enough sweets and want to burn off some of the energy? Well, here we go!
We'll start with a VERY early Phil Harris pair, one song of which we have heard before: Woodman, Woodman, Spare That Tree. This recording is from 1937 and is VASTLY different than his ARA treatment of the tune recorded 9 years later. It is the same song, to be sure, but done in a much more down-tempo rendition. Phil was with Columbia/OKeh at this time, before he went to ARA and then eventually on to RCA VIctor, where he recorded his big hit "The Thing". The B-side is a very laconically recorded version of Nobody... it shows his smooth Southern Gentleman style of delivery at its' best. I'm NOT knocking this record, believe me, it is just that these songs are so DIFFERENT than what I've heard from Phil in his later years.
Keeping up with a bit of the diginified country theme, here are a pair from Dorothy Shay. Dorothy was very good at taking what would be considered 'hill-billy' songs and putting them up with a very swanky (and VERY GOOD) swinging arrangement and orchestra. Pappy's Predicament and Another Notch in Father's Shotgun show this off quite nicely, with backing vocals by a group known only as "Her Kinfolk". On Pappy's Predicament, listen for the joke-play with the names of cities and states, it's a hoot. A pair of Columbia sides, recorded in 1949, and the quality of the encode is pretty doggone good.
Next we have up a pair by the DeCastro Sisters. Don't know too much about these fine singing ladies, except that they recorded this pair on a local Los Angeles label, Abbott records. They do very well with their renditions of It's Love, and Teach Me Tonight, backed up by Skip Martin & His Orchestra. I would suspect that these were done in the early 1950s, kind of when swing and sweet were mixing it up and emerging as the period of popular music. It is too bad these girls didn't land a major record deal, they would have done quite well...
Next up, a pair by one of the best boogie pianists in the 40s and 50s, Albert Ammons. His version of Swanee River Boogie is a hep boogie treatment of the old standard. The B side has Jack Cooley singing I Don't Want To See You, with Albert kicking his Rhythm Kings as hard as they would go. A prime example of 1946 R&B here, and it only got better as time went on. These were on a pretty ratty Mercury disc, but I think I got most of the groove-poo out...
Next up, we have a very popular 78 by Ethel Smith and the Bando Carioca. Yes, ladies & gentlemen, it is that quintescential Hammond organ showpiece, Tico-Tico. Almost every Hammond player (myself included) has a copy of this, as it was (I think) the first real pop recording of the venerable Hammond B-3. Nice samba background too. Ethel definately had the Hammond Chops going on this, as well as the back side, a medley of 2 songs, Lero Lero & Bem te vi Atrevido. This Decca recording was really really decent, which is a surprise as this Ethel Smith record was usually played to death. Nice stuff!
We close with what I think is one of my best encoding and remastering jobs ever, on one of my most favorite recordings ever, of one of my most favorite songs ever, by one of my most favorite groups ever. Spike Jones & the Other Orchestra's Laura. This 78 was damn near pristine when I pulled it from the album. Yes, I used a protective cloth on it so that no finger oils got into the grooves, and yes, I breathed on it a little in the remastering. THIS is an example of the high fidelity one can get out of a 78rpm record when it is remastered correctly. I'm kinda bummed that the back side, When Yuba Plays the Rhumba on the Tuba, didn't come out as well, but, hey, it is still a great pair of tunes to end this session with. Dick 'Country' Washburne was one of the best tuba players around, ever, and this shows how fanatical Spike was about the musicality in any of his recording efforts. His bands and orchestras were always perfection-tight, very professional, and it showed. I love Spike Jones' stuff, and I'm glad to have as many 78s of him as I do, and I'm glad to have this particular one in the excellent condition that it is in. And I'm always glad to encode 'em up and share them with all you good people out there in Internet-land.
Until next time!
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Happy Birthday, Sir Harry!
Also, someone on the 78 list posted a very late (in his career) recording of Hiking Medley, which prompted me to unearth my encodes of Sir Harry stuff. (If I get permission to share the Hiking Medley song, I'll add in the link). I have 10 twelve-inch sides, altogether, which I'll try and put in some chronological order (no guarantees!)...
The earliest ones I have would be the Victor purple label single-sided discs in the 70000-series. From the North, East, South, and West, on Victor 70120, would have been recorded during the US involvement in World War One, as Harry is remarking about the soldiers and sailors he encountered on this voyage to and from America. The other single-sided purple label is Victor 70125, I Think I'll Get Wed in the Summer. Probably about the same time, given the catalog number, as the other one, but I'll have to check Ty's discography to be sure. This one was a very worn copy, so the encode is not very good, I'm afraid.
Next up is There Is Somebody Waiting For Me, on a blue label Victor disc, catalog number 55121-A, paired with The Bounding Bounder (55121-B). Don't know when this was recorded, as Ty's online discography doesn't cover any of the Victor bat-wing ethnic issues.
Next up is the pair of Sir Harry's most popular and well-known recordings, Roamin' in the Gloamin', and Wee Hoose 'Mang the Heather (Victor blue label 55129-A and -B respectively). The B-side was also pretty beat up, so the encode isn't the greatest, but you get the idea. I think somewhere in the stacks I have another copy of this, I'll need to dig it up and re-record it.
I suspect, and maybe someone on the 78 list can confirm, that the blue label discs were re-releases of teh purple label single-side discs, coupled so that the buyer would have half the weight to carry home, and save twice the space in the gramophone cabinet (or Victrola cabinet). Very thrifty and Scottish ideal!
The next disc is a surprise to me as I forgot I had encoded it! Cut from the UK HMV (His Masters' Voice) masters Cc8016 and Cc8002 respectively, here are the electrically recorded versions of Roamin' in the Gloamin' (Victrola Scroll-label Red Seal 9012A), and I Love A Lassie (Victrola Scroll-label Red Seal 9012B). Harry's voice made the transfer from the horn to the microphone quite well, and in these sides you can hear the warmth in his voice that could only be imagined with acoustic recording technology. Don't have a date on these, maybe someone can fill me in...
Last up is Victrola Red Seal (Scroll label) 9295, the A-side being the electrically recorded version of Loch Lomond (HMV master Cc8029), and the B-side, Scotch Memories (interestingly, no indication of this being a HMV master!). Again, no dates I have on these, unfortunately, but I would put them at approximately the late 20s.
THe significance of the scroll label (which I'll post as soon as I can find the discs again) was that these were electrical (or, as Victor put them, "New Orthophonic") recordings. Electrical recording was the rage as early as 1927, and finally took over the industry by 1930. Victor and Western Electric had two different systems (yes, one was Victor and the other was Columbia... same story, same rivalry, things just don't change, do they...), so if you see a 78 with a W in a circle or a diamond in the groove run-out area, it is an electrical recording. This stopped as well in the mid-30s.
I hope you enjoyed my little tribute to Sir Harry... raise a glass of single-malt and toast the man for bringing a bit of Scotland to the Victrolas of America.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
More swing from the thrift store
Starting off tonight's edition, a double-side of the original Dusty Fletcher version of Open The Door, Richard. This is a two-parter on the National label, the first part I have occasionally heard on some of the R&B shellac or Americana radio stations, but I have never heard the second part (which is just as funny, in my opinion). I do know that Louis Jordan has covered this, along with a few other performers, but the original still stands up there proudly.
Moving right along, here are four sides by that legendary Southern Gentleman, Mr. Phil Harris. The first side is one of his classics, Woodsman Spare That Tree. This isn't the later RCA release, this is the earlier (and better, again my opinion) ARA release. A lot of his ARA stuff was re-recorded for release on RCA Victor, but the ARA material just seemed to have more spunk and energy than the RCA sides did. The back side, Bump On-The-Head Brown, bears this out, as it is typical of one of Phil's anecdotal stories about life in a smaller Southern USA town. Even though the songs weren't written by Phil, he sung 'em like he had wrote 'em, sho'nuff.
Next we go to Phil and (I believe) his young daughter. Yes, folks, it's the ARA pressing of One-zy Two-zy. Proof that using children in a record CAN be a good thing. She's devilishly cloying and you can tell that she has Daddy wrapped all around her little finger (as all little girls do so well with their fathers). I have the RCA version of this somewhere, I'll have to compare it with this, the original, to see if it got sweeter or if it just got sappier.
The back side, Some Little Bug, shows us that things haven't changed too much in the infectious culinary arts department, only the names have been changed to protect the board of health. Nice number, and it'll have you looking at that McDOnalds burger twice before chomping it into oblivion.
We'll wander off into Western-land now, with another ARA pressing, that by Smiley Burnette. Catfish Take A Look At That Worm will strike a chord into all who practice the art of trying to catch dinner from a lake, pond, or stream. Sometimes, dinner refuses to co-operate! But it is a nice little Western string band interlude to while away the hours, and hopefully not scare away the fish.
The back side of this one, is a song that actually Phil Harris could have recorded and pulled it off. Peg-Leg Bandit is a story about a small time varmint and how his karma bites him in the fleshy parts of his anatomy. There's a moral lesson here, but the song is too fun to worry about that... Smiley Burnette shows up in a lot of late 40s western music radio programs, a lot of them are out there on the net, and are worth looking up if you're into the genre. Some very good country swing listening!
Now, for Waltz Time. These two were not in the greatest of shape when I found the disc, but I managed to get a somewhat noise-free encode (you should have SEEN the GOONK that came off the record cleaning brush!)... the D'orsay Dance Orchestra, electrically recorded on the Harmony label (at that time a Columbia pressing), performing Cuban Love Song, with Jack Miller on the vocals. Nice little waltz to break up the dance card for you. The back side, another number in 3-4 time, is Tell Me With A Love Song, this time with Bobby Dix doing vocal duties. These were done in the late 20s-early 30s (I need to check Ty's online disography), but showed that waltzes could be done with flair and panache, and that not all things were hot-cha swing jazz.
I found this curiosity in the stacks, played it, and decided to share it with you. Collins H. Driggs was apparently an organist of some repute and reknown. His stylings on the Hammond aren't too shabby, either, as witnessed by his renditions of Hindustan and Loch Lomond. Recorded on the Enterprise label out of Los Angeles (I assume in the late 40s?), Collins had a guy on trap drums with brushes as his only backup, and I assume it is he that is also playing the celeste. You may think that organ music was specifically for the skating rink, but this stuff actually has a decent swing factor.
Let's get back to the swing, big band style now... Jan Savitt was one of the leaders who never got to the level of Benny, Artie, Glenn, Tommy, Jimmy, or Woody. Not to say that he didn't have some players with good chops! He also had some nice tight arranging on hand as well, as witnessed by Lovelight in the Starlight. His band, the Top Hatters, are backing Carlotta Dale's vocals well and fine in this number, and I'm sure that many a nightclub attendee and their parners danced the night away to things as good as this. This was from teh pre-war era, as the Bluebird label was teh one with the musical staff on it, not the later one that Glenn Miller sides are usually seen with.
Bon Bon takes over the microphone on the back side, singing Moonshine Over Kentucky. Swinging a little harder, but still getting the job done, with some very nice solo work in here as well. Only wish I had a personnel list....
OK, crescendo time... Woody Herman. Another great bandleader of the 40s. Took his craft well into the late 70s with many editions of his Thundering Herd. Swung his butt off. I know this, because I got to see a lot of the later Herd shows when Woody brought them through the northwestern US. This recording is somewhat earlier, because, even though it is on Columbia, it has no mention of the Herd on the label. But it swings right along, anyway! Woody picks up the microphone and sings about that southern Mecca, Atlanta, GA. The band has fun with this one too, and the pressing quality is short of miraculous. The Columbia engineers brought their A-game when they recorded this one, and it shows.
Where it REALLY shows how hard Woody could drive his outfit is on the back side, Wild Root. This swings right up there with the best of them, and the recording is just soooo pristine that you can almost hear the walls shake from the energy. This is one for the jumpin'-wailin'-jivin' hepcats and hepkittens to tear up the pinewood with, baby!
Get out there and SHAG IT!